When you get a bunch of parents, kids and volunteers together to try to create something it is always a mess at first.
The start of the 2014-2015 Katy Barbarians Rugby Football Club was no different.
Once we had our first practice somewhere in October the participation looked dim. We had about 7 kids and most of our boys from last year had moved up to the next age group. Over the following weeks we recruited and had about 7 more kids show up.
Looking over at the U13 team, I felt a bit dejected. Dave and Kevin had almost 30 kids and all the gear you could need. We were struggling to come up with enough to make a 15’s team.
As the team came together, we started out on our first practice and Coach Ozzy announced that he wanted first and foremost for the boys to be able to pass the ball. I am all about tackling, and Coach Mark, is all about rucking.
Little did we know that this combination was going to be pure gold.
This was the where our boys who had been playing with us really started to excel. We also had a number of boys who had never seen a rugby ball. Out of our tight 5 only one of the boys had played before.
Our backs where about 50% returning players and 50% new players.
Practice after practice our team came together and worked to find their space within the game. At first the tackling that was awful, but became better and better as practices went on. The boys passing ability went from somewhere in the vicinity of the target to spot on in the hands of the awaiting runner. With all the running and all the drills, fitness improved overall as well.
We ran through drills and team runs every practice. I would whistle the ball dead and call for a tackle. Amazingly after the first few practices, there was ALWAYS a runner, coming at pace ready for the next pop up from the man on the ground. In one practice I whistled the ball dead 6 times in a row, and every time there was someone there to pickup the ball and go.
Katy VS Woodlands AT Katy
In our first match against long time foe, and a team we had never beaten the Woodlands Rugby Club.
Within a few minutes of the start of the match, those same principles we had practiced in all the time leading up to that first match came into play.
Kyle our fly half displayed excellent control of his team throughout the game, and Darrell a surprising star for the first time player came away with 4 tries.
We out rucked, out passed and outran, everyone on the pitch. We also suffered the loss of Marty, Ozzie’s son, with a badly broken wrist. The remainder of the game the rallying cry became “For MARTY!” In the end, the Woodlands RFC went down to the Katy Barbarians, and we knew we had a special team.
Score Katy 31 – Woodlands 0
With the first game, a true test of the boys mental, physical, and teamwork skills. All 3 of the coaches were beaming, it was truly a excellent start to the season. No one in recent memory had recalled a Katy team or ANY team beating the Woodlands.
With the season underway coaches began to work harder and harder on improving the skills that had takes them through that match. With only one practice a week, of 2 hours. Keeping the same intensity level was ALWAYS my main focus.
The following week the team traveled to the Woodlands for another head to head competition with the formerly undefeated cross town rival.
Katy Vs Woodlands AT Woodlands
The game kicked off and it was a more even match then anyone could have hoped for, and it was clear that the 2014-2015 season Katy was the team to beat.
With Captain Kyle scoring a try and then another back to back. Woodlands would not go away empty handed. On 2 successive kickoffs the Woodlands barged into Katy territory, and spun the ball out wide and exploited the overlap to bring the game to a tie score. Katy would not lie down that easily. In the final minutes of the match Eric went up though 2 tacklers and was finally dragged down right at the try line. Showing incredible game sense, Eric rolled over and put the ball down for the try.
Score Katy 27 – Woodlands 22
The rest of the season progressed much like that. Win after impressive win.
There is so much I could say about the season and everything that happened. The reality is we had a great bunch of kids, who worked their butts off, and listened to all of our yelling and screaming, to become better young men, and better rugby players.
Yesterday we had our final event for the season, the awards BBQ at Katy Park.
I am a pretty hard guy, but man it almost brought a tear to my eye. Seeing all these young men who fought so hard all season long, and to have it all come to such a great end.
We passed out awards to all the boys and we all ate and drank our fill of soda, water and of course the coaches had a beer or two. We made some speeches and pontificated on next season.
Below are the awards, and scores from all the games.
MVP Back Daryl Dixon
Most Improved Back Eric Hughes**
MVP Forward Garrett Ros
Most Improved Forward Lewis McKay
Players Player Kyle Frasier
1/31/15 Home – Katy 31 – Woodlands 0
2/7/15 Away – Katy 27 – Woodlands 22
2/14/15 Home – Katy 76 (apx) – Regis 0
2/28/15 at Woodlands – Katy 42 – Lanier 5
2/28/15 at Woodlands – Katy 28 Woodlands 10
2/28/15 at Woodlands – Katy 38 – Regis 0
3/7/15 at Western Katy 35 – Western 10
3/7/15 at Western Katy 24 – Western 5
3/28/15 at Home – Katy 43 – Plano 0
3/28/15 at Home – Katy 26 – Plano 7
4/11/15 at A&M – Katy 26 – Woodlands 38
4/11/15 at A&M – Katy No Subs 26 – 3 Team Stars 29
4/11/15 at A&M – Katy 34 – Plano 15
* I somehow forgot to mention this in the post someplace but, thanks to all the parents who put up with all of the last minute schedule changes, cancellations and venue changes to make sure their boys were there to play.
** Eric had a bit of heartburn over his selection thinking his teammates would think it was due to his dad’s coaching. We agreed on another player, then Mark and Ozzie while I was not there, changed it to Eric. Thanks guys! In reality Eric had the second most tries out of all the boys with a amazing 25, and 3 tries in our loss to the Woodlands and a host of other accolades like, amazing speed, and the ability to run straight through players.
On one final note my favorite play of the year by my son was against Western in the second match. On a kickoff that was perfectly placed along the sideline by Kyle. A boy slightly taller and thicker than Eric lined up to catch this high kick. Then looked up to see Eric running at him at full speed, he basically stepped out of the way and the ball bounced, Eric ran by and caught the ball at pace off the bounce. He proceeded to run it in the ball for a try, untouched.
For more information about how you can play and or volunteer to help with the Katy Barbarians Rugby Football Club. Click HERE
For more information or to find a club near you check out USA Rugby
Finally if you want to play rugby in Katy and you’re not a kid 😀 check out the Katy Lions Rugby Football Club.